Parenting Work-Life Balance

A Professional Woman and a Loving Mother


A mother. She is called an angel, a goddess, a guiding light, an encourager and a role model. Being a mother is not easy, whether she chooses to stay-at-home or work, there are different challenges that she has to face.

The majority of mothers in yesteryears gave up their own lives after marriage and kids, and lived for their family. Today’s mother is an educated, experienced and confident person who knows what she wants in her life. She loves her children and family, but she is not ready to let go her own dreams. She wants her own identity, and she has her own passions.

That’s what I want to be – a professional woman and a loving mother.

Sometimes, working mothers feel conflicted about her choice, even when it’s dictated by financial necessity. Between the stress at work, the guilt and the sheer physical demands of juggling family and work, sometimes she wonder why her life has to be so complicated.

Have you ever experienced this?

Every time it hits me, I tell myself that I’m doing the best possible thing for my son by contributing to the family income, maintaining our financial viability, supporting my own parents and building my own retirement nest.

I’ve worked continuously since my graduation in year 2000. The only break I had was after I left my previous company, I took one month break before starting work at my current company. Well, that was nine years ago!

I used to feel guilty about working when Edison was still a baby. We put him at an infant care centre for four months after my maternity leave. That was the toughest part of my life, and every day I thought of quitting my job.

Luckily, my parents-in-law came along and they offered to take care of Edison while we were at work. Knowing that Edison was in their good hands, I could focus on my work again. I’m truly grateful for their help. Else, I could have quitted my job years ago.

Fast forward to today, our situation has improved. V often tell me that I could stop working anytime, because we can still live comfortably with single income. But I choose not to. If I have persevered this far, I will not give up on my career so easily now. I enjoy my job, it gives me a lot of satisfaction, a comfortable salary and other intangible benefits.

I grew up in a poor family. Being the eldest child in the family, I had to help out in house chores because we didn’t have a domestic helper. My mother was a part-time tailor, and my father worked very hard to make ends meet. When I was a kid, I’ve never been on vacations. I never asked for anything extravagant from my parents because I knew that they couldn’t afford it.

I studied very hard because I knew that the only way to change my life is to get a university degree. Luckily, I managed to get into a local university. I took a study loan and a scholarship so that I can complete my study with minimal support from my family. And I did it!

Perhaps, it’s something that I can’t quite explain now. Did my own childhood experience convince me that I wanted something different for my son? I didn’t have a terrible childhood, but I often felt deprived of material things during my growing up years. I was unhappy because of all the financial difficulties that we had.

Maybe it’s idealism and the thought of giving the best to my son right from the start so that he doesn’t have to go through hardship. Holidays, good food, birthday parties, nice clothes and everything that I used to be deprived of, I can now afford to give them to my son.

Or maybe it’s the financial insecurities of living without an income. Whatever the reason, I’ve decided to continue working, to save money for our future and his education, and not forgetting my own parents. They have retired now, and it’s my duty to support them and give them a comfortable life.

Juggling family and work is never easy. I wake up at 6:30am, prepare myself to work, and drive him to school. From 8:30am to 6pm, I deliver my best at work. After work, I rush home, have dinner with him, shower him, coach him in his study and spend some quality time with him until he goes to bed at 9:30pm.

At the end of the day, I have less than an hour for myself, but I never complaint. I live a fulfilled life, I’m happy with my family, my son and my work. And I’m contented. Really.

Linking up with:'s FTWM Motherhood Madness!


San March 13, 2013 at 12:20 AM

Thanks for your honest sharing, Emily! I can so identify with a lot of what you’re sharing. It really isn’t an easy choice whether to be a SAHM or a FTWM, and I think both routes have sacrifices to make. I am happy things have settled and balanced out so well for you and E! 🙂

Emily March 13, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Hi Sandra,
Thanks for this linky, it sparks my thoughts on this topic. And it’s great to read how other FTWMs are balancing their work and family. 🙂

Libby March 13, 2013 at 2:12 AM

Kudos to you Emily! Good Job, you have done well, Jia you!

Emily March 13, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Thanks, Libby! 🙂

Zee March 13, 2013 at 8:59 AM

Love your closing line. I think contentment is the key 🙂 it’s really great to be able to read about the stories and lives of other FTWMs! I feel like we have a little support network.

Emily March 13, 2013 at 1:03 PM

Hi Zee,
Thanks for dropping by. And yes, we have started a little support network here. Unexpectedly. Haha!

The Kam Family March 13, 2013 at 11:16 AM

Thanks for your honest sharing!

My husband was like you. There are a lot of things he cannot do, cannot have and places here cannot go when he was young. He wanted to provide the kids with the best that we can afford. But I have changed him, hehe. He accepted that love and attention is what best for the kids!

Emily March 13, 2013 at 1:06 PM

Hi Kam Family,
I hope I have a chance to talk to your husband. Haha! I agree that love and attention are the most important, but we’re also working hard to provide him with a comfortable life so that he doesn’t have to go through hardship like I did. Hope that he will understand my intention when he grows up.

Madeline March 13, 2013 at 12:38 PM

I can definitely identify with the lack of me time!!

Emily March 13, 2013 at 1:07 PM

Hi Madeline,
Give me 5! Haha! We can still steal some personal time-off by taking half day leave once in a while, go shopping, facial, and stuffs… 🙂 That’s my indulgence.

Michelle March 13, 2013 at 5:58 PM

How about friends? Do you still meet up with them?
I have 2 kids and it is really tough juggling with family, work and also friends. I believe that it is also important to keep the friendship going :p

Emily March 14, 2013 at 5:48 PM

Hi Michelle,
You are right! Friendship is still an important element in our lives. I don’t get to meet them very often. Usually on special occasions like birthdays, CNY etc. Sometimes, I take half day off from work to meet them & have some girly talk. It’s one of my stress buster too! 🙂

Susan March 14, 2013 at 12:39 AM

Like you, part of the reason why I work is also because I need to support my parents. And similarly, I want to be self sufficient so that I don’t have to burden my child when I’m older. I once heard this, money is not everything, but it sure gives us more options. I rather not be in a position where I run out of options. And I totally agree that being working doesn’t make us worse moms. By seeing us working hard, our children will learn the value of hard work too.

Emily March 14, 2013 at 5:53 PM

Hi Susan,
It makes a lot of difference whether we need to support our parents or not. Like my husband, he is the lucky one because my parents-in-law can support themselves. So, he doesn’t have that ‘burden’. I don’t use his money anyway, so he only support his son. 🙂

I wish that we can be like my parents-in-law when we grow old, and we don’t need financial support from Edison. To achieve that, we have to work hard when we’re still young. 🙂

Rachel March 15, 2013 at 11:37 AM

It’s really tough being a FTWM, going through the motions of the grind every weekday. It’s hard to tell you to not feel any guilt cos I believe this is what every working mom goes through, I was there before. MOst of all tend to be subjected to our life’s circumstance, and it becomes important for us not to ponder on the negatives and the guilt, do help us manage our attitudes towards it. It’s good that u see more of the good of your current status than the bad.

Despite the challenges, I think you are doing a great job managing a work life balance and Edison is growing up to be a very fine boy. Do remember though not to be too hard on yourself and your responsibilities and take a breather ever so often, cos your health matters too. Will be keeping you in my prayers that all things will be well for you always, Emily.

Emily March 16, 2013 at 1:57 PM

Dear Rachel,
Thank you so much for your concern & keeping me in yr prayers. I really appreciate it. Yes, there are many other different things in life that matter too, like health, friendship and social life. I’ll always remember to slow down, take a breathe and enjoy the simple joy in life.


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